Life After MacHeist

It has been about a month and a half since MacHeist (last year’s hugely successful and controversial shareware puzzle extravaganza slash marketing ploy slash advocacy project) more-or-less ended (there is still one heist on the way, it’s been promised, but no sign as to when), and I thought it might be good to take a look back at which apps ended up making the cut for me and which are currently dormant in the deep recesses of my MacBook Pro’s Application folder. I participated in the heists from the beginning, so I earned a ton of free apps, and I also purchased the final bundle (it was about $40 after my earned discount bucks kicked in) of ten pieces of software, so this is not going to be the shortest article you’ve ever seen. Push through, bookmark it for later, or skip to the ones you know and care about. Either way, I hope you find this list useful and perhaps one of these programs might fill a hole in your workflow (or fill your need for entertainment and distraction).

If you’ve used any of the ones I haven’t gotten around to, or absolutely love/hate something I hated/loved, let me know in the comments!

All quoted descriptions are straight from the MacHeist site. I hope they’re cool with that. But definitely check it out to get the full deal. The forums there have some good threads, too. Also, I would love to link to each app, but time doesn’t permit right now. I will do my best to add links by the end of the day, but if not, you can find most of these on the MacHeist site, or with a simple Google Search.

Here goes (First, the bundle):

Delicious Library

Delicious Library can perhaps be best described as a love letter to media enthusiasts from the people at Delicious Monster, and media enthusiasts have responded in kind, resulting in Delicious Library becoming the huge Mac software hit of 2005.

For those of you who enjoy amassing a sizeable collection of books, DVD's, CD's and video games, Delicious Library lets you relive that experience with its intuitive iSight barcode scanning and integration. Your media library is represented in, literally, virtual bookshelves, and thanks to Delicious Library's integration with Amazon, items are rendered as jewel cases, DVD covers, and papercover and hardcover books. It'll be a matter of minutes before you've catalogued your collection, ready for instant searching, browsing, and borrowing out.
This is the first one of the bundle that I actually used. Once I activated it, I immediately took to scanning all of my books and DVDs with my fancy built-in iSight camera. It worked like a charm, usually, though occasionally the light in the room or the barcode itself made it difficult to get a good scan. Once I got my whole library scanned (this is a major procrastination tool) I synced it to my iPod, and it is there if I ever need it. I was really excited about Delicious Library, but then something happened: I got a real bookshelf for Christmas from my girlfriend, and suddenly it’s not quite the same to look at the digital one (pretty as it is!). I ought to start using the “lending” feature, but haven’t made that jump yet. I imagine I’ll have more use for it once I get into that.


FotoMagico is the pinnacle of slideshow creation software, thanks to a level of features and polish that keeps it many steps ahead of the competition.

It starts with creation. Designing slideshows with FotoMagico begins with iPhoto or Aperture integration, and selecting your photos. From there, you can synchronize appropriate music (including multiple songs), select from 12 transition effects, and insert titles and subtitles to guide your audience through the show.
I opened this one, took a look at the sample show, thought it seemed cool, and closed it. FotoMagico seems cool, but what do I need to make a slideshow for? I can’t, for the life of me, figure out a reason.


Personalizing OS X is something every Mac user undergoes, whether it's as minor as changing the desktop background, or downloading some of your favorite freeware and shareware apps. But for most users, the look of OS X comes in two flavors only: Aqua and Graphite.

Sure, Aqua is undeniably a thing of beauty. But it's not for everyone. Which is why Unsanity created ShapeShifter, the full system theme changer for OS X. With ShapeShifter, users can download theme creations by dozens of designers, and with one click, change the look of your windows, buttons, the menubar, icons, and even your cursor.
I tried a few themes, none of them worked on everything, and none of them are quite what I’m looking for (or perhaps I just didn’t give them enough time), but I recognize that this app could be extremely useful for those interested in personalizing their Macs. And, inconsistencies aside, it just goes to show how great the OSX interface and look is, and how much time and thought is put into it. I’ll stick with customizing my background image.


Everything is digital today. But ever get the sense of being flooded with information overload? Find yourself at a loss as to where to store all these e-mails, PDFs, Word documents, images and multimedia files you accumulate every day? Or how to organize them, and find the right one when you need it?

DEVONthink is the solution for the digital age, the one database for all your documents. And it's flexible, adapting to your personal needs. You can use it as your document repository, your filing cabinet, your e-mail archive or your project organizer. Collect and organize data from the web for a publication, enrich it with sound and movie files, and export everything as a web site, drag it to an Apple Pages document for publishing in print, or copy it to your iPod.
I really, really, really want to use this program. It is exactly what I want, and their philosophy is right for this new age. But I haven’t had the time to get started. After migrating all of my docs to a new computer, I’m still not quite organized enough to feel like I can start organizing myself, if that makes sense. It’s like people who rinse the dishes before putting them into the dishwasher. At that point, why not wash them yourself? That’s why I am not using DEVONthink yet. But I will, I think, at some point.


Disco may be the new kid on the block, but in a few short months, it has already gained thousands of switchers from established disc burning software like Roxio's Toast. How? Simplicity. Beauty. And oh yeah, smoke.

Somehow, Disco makes the usually mundane task of burning discs, well, fun. For some people, it's fun simply because it's painless to use. With a UI philosophy the developers dubbed "Crossroads", Disco guides users through the process of burning, imaging or cataloging a disc, giving you options only when you need them.
I’m out of blank discs. And have nothing to burn. Looks really cool, but got nothing to do with it right now.


One of the most popular applications on OS X, Realmac Software has gained legions of fans with its powerful and easy to use website creation tool, RapidWeaver.

Before RapidWeaver, creating a slick, original website was about as easy for the average Joe as booting up Photoshop and handcoding pages of HTML in a text editor. In a word, not easy enough. But now, creating a beautiful website is as easy as selecting a theme, filling in some content, and hitting "publish".
RapidWeaver is really cool, and though I have yet to use it for a large project, it is simple to use and offers a ton of cool-looking templates (more, and more varied than iWeb gives you, though that is also a great program for throwing up a quick site or photo album). There is really no reason to pirate Dreamweaver or GoLive ever again if you are new to web design and want to make a cool-looking site.

iClip 4

For many of us, copying and pasting is among the most integral functions of using a computer effectively. What thousands of people have realized however, thanks to iClip 4 and iClip lite, is that the built-in copy and paste in OS X is woefully underpowered.

Hard to believe? With iClip 4's multiple clipboard paradigm, you can stop copying and pasting, and instead, copy, copy, copy, paste, paste, copy, copy... It's all automatically stored by iClip's multiple storage bins.
In all honesty, I haven’t even installed this yet (though version 4 did just come out officially, so I might get on that). I don’t do a ton of copy/pasting in my work, but can see where it might come in handy. It’s another tool that, once the time is spent integrating it into one’s workflow, seems like it would save time and effort. But getting there is never a breeze, even for super-simple applications like this.

Pangea Arcade

Pangea Arcade is actually a collection of three exciting games: Nucleus, Warheads, and Firefall, all of which are based on classic arcade themes. In Nucleus, you pilot a spaceship around an asteroid field, staying alive for as long as you can. Warheads has you defending a base against incoming missiles, shooting them down before they destroy your buildings. And in Firefall, you must destroy a rapidly descending alien creature with gameplay similar to the arcade classic, "Centipede". Pangea Arcade is a completely modernized take on several arcade classics, loaded with visual eye candy.
I played these each once. They look nice, but not too nice, and I’m not much of a gamer, with the exception of my addiction to Guitar Hero. I uninstalled this.


NewsFire presents all the websites you subscribe to in a sidebar that dynamically updates, literally shifting those with more unread news items to the top. Instead of browsing your favorite blogs and news sites randomly throughout the day, hoping for something new, NewsFire alerts you to any updates and presents them within its UI. Once you factor in NewsFire's Spotlight instant searching of articles, smart feeds, drop-dead gorgeous interface, and integrated Podcast and Videocast players, there's simply no looking back. NewsFire will become an absolutely integral part of your online experience.
I’m sure NewsFire is great, but I’ll never know. I use the new Google Reader, and love it. And, as most of my feed-reading happens at work (where I use XP), there’s just no need for a desktop feed manager. It takes me just as many clicks (one) to open Camino (where Google Reader is my front page) as it would to open NewsFire. The Spotlight search feature would be nice, but it’s not enough to make me switch. Especially since what I like about using a feed reader is that it allows you to browse and scan without looking for anything in particular.


TextMate is a versatile plain text editor with a unique and innovative feature set. It has quickly become the must-have Mac app for developers, resulting in it winning the Apple Design Award for Best Mac OS X Developer Tool in 2006.

Whether you are a programmer or a designer, the production of code and markup is hard work. Without an editor dedicated to the task, it is also often cumbersome, overwhelming, and repetitive. Especially when you are dealing with a lot of files at once like most projects do. TextMate puts you back in control, reduces the mental overhead, and turns manual work into something the computer does.
TextMate has been a godsend. This application is exactly what I have been looking for for ages. It is beautifully simple, highlights syntax, does automatic previews and tabs and handles a ton of open files. Great stuff, and I feel like I’ve not even scratched the surface of what it can do. Highly recommended.

And now the free ones:

Chat Transcript Manager

Chat Transcript Manager will index all of your iChat, Adium and Fire chat transcripts and allow you to find what you need in a snap. Chat Transcript Manager is robust and powerful, supporting blazingly fast search, dynamic chat updates, full Address Book support, picture management, and custom transcript themes.
Haven’t used this. I don’t use iChat very much. GMail Chat and Campfire do it for me.

Assignment Planner

Assignment Planner is an application which allows you to keep track of homework assignments for a number of different courses. It includes features that allow you to display only those assignments that are yet to be completed, add information to all your assignments, courses and textbooks for reference, filter assignments by their type, and much more. You can also export your assignments to a text file or to iCal, to easily view your assignments from your iPod.
I’m not in school anymore, so this is pretty worthless. Also haven’t opened it. If I did, it is possible I could find something useful, but I’m getting along just fine without it.


Soulver is a new kind of calculator application which allows you to do maths using plain English phrases. It also features a simple interface, an instant calculation engine, constants, functions, statistics and more. Soulver makes working with numbers on your Mac much easier than on paper, or on the back of the envelope.
Soulver is cool. I wish I needed it more, but I just don’t do that much math these days.

American History Lux

American History Lux lets you replay all the wars that have shaped U.S. history. Have fun and learn some history and geography while you're at it. AHL includes the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, the Mexican-American War, the US Civil War, 3 separate World War theaters, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and finishes with the Iraq War.
Again, I’m not the biggest gamer, so I haven’t checked it out. My roommate plays Lux, though, and says this version is pretty cool. But he typically sticks with the original.


NotePad is a powerful and feature rich Dashboard widget notepad, featuring instant, built-in search, iPod sync, print, resizing, several beautiful skins by IconFactory designer David Lanham, sketching, outlining, and more. NotePad was the 2nd place winner of the 2005 MacGeneration awards for best Dashboard widget.
NotePad is great. I use it to write little poems on my Dashboard and write myself notes. Otherwise, I haven’t delved too deeply into its features, but it is chock-full of them.


QuickScale was originally designed to let you scale a large of of pictures to a desired size and format. With QuickScale, this is now a breeze. Just select the images, choose a desired resolution, and QuickScale scales them down for you. QuickScale can also read from, and write to almost every format supported by your Mac OS (including jpg, png, gif, and more).
I opened this one up, decided I would hold on to it in case I ever needed it. I haven’t.


Cha-Ching is a fun and easy to use money manager, done Mac OS X style. A tag based database lets you organize and search for your incoming and outgoing transactions your way. With Cha-Ching, you can also organize pending transactions, so you can keep track of the the cash you owe the electric company as well as the cash others might owe you and with iCal integration, you'll never forget a payment.
I finally got around to messing with Cha-Ching two nights ago, and in no time I had everything from my two accounts and credit cards set up (including pending bills and payments). There’s lots to discover in this app, and I am excited to finally manage my finances in this way. Cha-Ching even functions as a mini-browser, letting you log in to your bank right from the program - no external windows or programs necessary. Nice touch. As is the ability to add pictures to transactions. I don’t use iCal or Address Book much, but the integration Cha-Ching promises with these make me want to get started.


1Passwd is a state of the art Password Manager that brings you Security and Convenience. 1Passwd goes beyond just Password Management and adds Form Filling, AutoFill, and Strong Password Generation functionality all built directly into the most popular OS X browsers.
I got this, installed it in my browsers, and instantly wanted to get rid of it. Though it might partially be my fault for not giving it enough of a chance or reading too much about configuring it, I was annoyed by having to constantly validate permissions for using the stored passwords. It was a lot of extra typing and I couldn’t be bothered to make it work correctly when I was perfectly happy with the default keychain password memory beforehand.

Alarm Clock Pro

Alarm Clock Pro helps make managing a full schedule or a hectic lifestyle a breeze. Manage your weekly schedule with reminders, compose task lists, have inspirational quotes read to you, time events, calculate the difference between time zones, use a stop watch, wake up to your favorite internet radio station, and more.
I didn’t even install this one. Thanks, but no thanks.


Using its concise and pleasing user interface, iPulse graphically displays the inner workings of Mac OS X on the desktop or in the dock. The entire user interface is completely configurable so you can turn off gauges you don't want, leaving only what you are interested in for easy viewing. A single floating window displays all of the information you ask it to and does it beautifully. You can also find dozens of beautiful, pre-made "iPulse jackets" in an Iconfactory archive by many of their artists.
iPulse looked cool when I tried it out. Unfortunately for it, I don’t have a regular need for the data it displays, and when I do have interest, I simply hit F12 to show iStat in my Dashboard. I’m not into cluttering my desktop, either (I have a total of two icons on it - the main drive and a folder for files downloaded from EMusic that I delete after adding them to my iTunes Library.


DrawIt is a vector drawing-application.
Use one of our templates to quickly create calendars, greeting cards and more.
Use Images, text, bezier-curves, masks and more than forty Core Image filters to create virtually anything.
No thanks. I’ve got Adobe Illustrator. That gets the job done for me. But perhaps if you don’t, you might give it a try.

To Do Tracker

To Do Tracker helps you stay organized by putting a handy notepad right on your dashboard, designed especially for quickly making and sorting lists. Best of all, unlike the Stickies Widget, when you close To Do Tracker, all your lists are saved for your next session.
I have this on my Dashboard, and kinda use it, sometimes. But it is mostly there to take up space until I find something better.

Picture Framer

Picture Framer makes it easy to quickly decorate your Dashboard with your favorite photos. It shows pictures from your iPhoto library, any other folder on your computer, even your Photo Booth pictures. Best of all, it wraps everything up in beautiful frames that look right at home on your Dashboard.
This one is nice. It lets me have changeable, scalable photos on my Dashboard. Sometimes I look at them. That’s about it.

Mac Pilot

Scared of the terminal or can't be bothered to remember those commands to customize your system the way you want? Mac Pilot is your digital savior. Easily enable and disable hidden features in Mac OS X, optimize and repair your system, and perform numerous routine maintenance operations with the click of a button!
Haven’t had a chance to take Mac Pilot for a spin, but it looks pretty functional. Anyone checked it out?


EarthDesk replaces your static desktop picture with a rendered image of Earth showing correct sun, moon and city illumination. With an internet connection, EarthDesk displays real-time global cloud cover, allowing users to track hurricanes and typhoons, or simply admire our beautiful planet. User options allow you to adjust the overall transparency of the cloud layer.
A dynamic background? Not my style, sorry (see iPulse above).


PhotoStickies gives you unique access to your favorite pictures. Use PhotoStickies to put all your favorite pictures on your desktop in the form of floating (even borderless) stickies. You may pull pictures for these stickies from your hard drive, or the Internet.
Ick. More desktop clutter? Not for me. Nope.

So that does it! Wow, that was a long post. Thanks for sticking with it. I hope it was worth it for you and you found some awesome stuff to check out. Most, if not all, of these apps have free trials, so there is absolutely no reason not to check them out for yourself. Let me know what you think in the comments.